Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stone Soup ~ part two

Caidy settled her little brother on her hip and gingerly eased her way down from the loft. He was groggy and starting to cry in great gulping yowls.

“Shhhhh…Shhhh.” She said, rocking him with her body a bit before handing the baby over to her mother.

“I think he might need a bit of tar and sulphur on his head, Ma.” Caidy pulled back the cap from the nursing baby’s head.

“I think you might be right, sweet girl. Can I ask you to take care of that for me tonight?”

Caidy blew her hair out of her eyes and grinned. “Yes Ma’am!”

“Don’t you have some starvin’ chickens waiting for you?”

Caidy grinned shyly and said, “I’ll just get the pone in the oven, first.”

“You’re a good child.” Her Ma said, tucking the hungry baby closer.

Caidy busied herself with the task of getting the breakfast started. She pulled the jar of cold milk and buttermilk from yesterday from the porch. The milk had ice crystals that chugged sluggishly into the earthenware jugs that she then set on the table. She cut slices off of a whole country ham and put them in the skillet to sizzle. Soon the cabin was warming up with the rich smells of baking cornbread, biscuits and ham.

She skittered out into the cold to feed the hens. She hopefully looked into the nest boxes to see if there were any eggs, but it was still too cold and dark for the hens to be laying much. She gathered six precious out of season eggs and secreted them in her pockets. She planned to save these for her Ma.

When she came back in, stamping the snow from her feet, her mother handed over the now full and sleeping Aidin. Caidy put her little brother in the crib and covered him with the baby quilt that their neighbor Lizie had made for him.

About that time the door sprang open letting a blast of cold into the cabin which had just begun to heat up. A tide of menfolk swarmed in, led by Caidy’s twin brother, Alvin.

Alvin heaved the large pail of milk up onto the table. He hooked his thumbs in his belt and said importantly, “It’s so cold that we didn’t get mor’n two gallons, Ma!”

Caidy was the only girl in the family. Her two oldest brothers were also twins, Caleb and Carter. They were out of school and working full time on the farm and favored each other so that you could hardly tell them apart. Each had a shock of red hair and freckles and they were very popular at church socials. Her next oldest brother was Joshua, then Random and Arthur. They all went to school at the Raven’s Branch Schoolhouse, except for Caleb and Carter.

Her father came up to her mother and kissed her on the forehead.

“How’s my pretty May?”

Her mother’s eyes shed the exhaustion and showed a glint of their pale blue as they were in her girlhood.

“Pretty May’s just fine today. And how’s my Jason?”

Her father straightened up and gave her mother a small smile. He was a tall, massive man with weathered hands and a gentle face. The bones of the mountains were etched into the lines on his face.

“Your Jason is in a fine meddle, I reckon. Now that you’re here.”

As many times as Caidy had heard the same words they spoke to each other, it never failed to make her feel safe and loved.

She smiled to herself as she started to get the food on the table.


  1. Audubon Ron said...
    Very nice.
    kazari_lu said...
    I've been hanging out for this - Thankyou!

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